The rights to the film and its sequels are owned by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. In a 2015 interview, Zemeckis maintained that no reboot or remake of the franchise would be authorized during his or Gale's lifetime.
Writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis actually received a fan letter from John DeLorean after the film's release, thanking them for immortalizing his car.
In 2010, during a cast reunion, Michael J. Fox said that strangers still call him "McFly!" constantly. Fox said that the most remarkable instance was when he was in a remote jungle in the South Asian country Bhutan, located between China and India in the eastern Himalayas. A group of Buddhist monks passed him and one of them looked at Fox and said, "Marty McFly!"
Apparently, Ronald Reagan was amused by Doc Brown's disbelief that an actor like him could become President, so much so that he had the projectionist stop and replay the scene. He also seemed to enjoy it so much that he even made a direct reference of the film in his 1986 State of the Union address, "As they said in the film Back to the Future (1985), 'Where we're going, we don't need roads.'"
Biff's catchphrases "make like a tree and get outta here" and "butthead" were improvised by Thomas F. Wilson.
When Lorraine follows Marty back to Doc's house, she and Doc exchange an awkward greeting. This marks the only on-screen dialogue that Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson ever have, though they have appeared together in six movies.
After the film's release, body kits were made for DeLoreans to make them look like the time machine.
According to Bob Gale, on October 26, 1985, a group of people showed up at the mall used to film the Twin Pines Mall location to see if Marty would arrive in the DeLorean. He, of course, did not.
When this movie was previewed for a test audience, Industrial Light and Magic had not completed the final DeLorean-in-flight shot, and the last several minutes of the movie were previewed in black and white. It didn't matter, as the audience roared in approval of the final scene anyway.
Universal Pictures head Sid Sheinberg did not like the title "Back to the Future", insisting that nobody would see a movie with "future" in the title. In a memo to Robert Zemeckis, he said that the title should be changed to "Spaceman From Pluto", tying in with the Marty-as-alien jokes in the film, and also suggested further changes like replacing the "I'm Darth Vader from planet Vulcan" line with "I am a spaceman from Pluto!" Sheinberg was persuaded to change his mind by a response memo from Steven Spielberg, which thanked him for sending a wonderful "joke memo", and that everyone got a kick out of it. Sheinberg, too proud to admit he was serious, gave in to letting the film retain its title.
Claudia Wells, who played Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future (1985), gave her role up to Elisabeth Shue for Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
Christopher Lloyd stated that he always wanted to do one more movie, in which Marty and Doc Brown time-travel back to Ancient Rome.
In December 2007, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
The inspiration for the film largely stems from Bob Gale discovering his father's high school yearbook and wondering whether he would have been friends with his father as a teenager. Gale also said that if he had the chance to go back in time, he would really go back and see if they would have been friends.
Crispin Glover claimed to have seen the film only once, shortly after its release. In contrast, Christopher Lloyd stated that when he occasionally stumbled across a Back to the Future film while channel surfing, he would often sit and watch it.
Doc's distinctive hunched-over look developed when the filmmakers realized the extreme difference in height between Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox; Fox is 5' 4½" while Lloyd is 6' 1". To compensate for the height difference, director Robert Zemeckis used specific blocking where the two often stood far apart at different camera depths. For close-ups, Lloyd would have to hunch over to appear in frame with Fox. The same approach was used in the sequels.
Musician Mark Campbell did all of Michael J. Fox's singing. He is credited as "Marty McFly." Mark was perhaps best known as the lead singer of popular 1980s band Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.
Michael J. Fox had always been the first choice for Marty, but he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts with his work on Family Ties (1982). As "Family Ties" co-star Meredith Baxter was pregnant at the time, Fox was carrying a lot more of the show than usual. The show's producer Gary David Goldberg simply couldn't afford to let Fox go. Zemeckis and Gale then cast Eric Stoltz as Marty based on his performance in Mask (1985). After six weeks of filming Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale felt that Stoltz wasn't right for the part, and Stoltz agreed. By this stage, Baxter was back fully on the show and Goldberg agreed to let Fox go off to make the film. Fox worked out a schedule to fulfill his commitment to both projects. Every day during production, he drove straight to the movie set after taping of the show was finished every day and averaged about five hours of sleep. The bulk of the production was filmed from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., with the daylight scenes filmed on weekends. Reshooting Stoltz's scenes added $3 million to the budget.
The DeLorean was deliberately selected for its general appearance and gull wing doors, in order to make it plausible that people in 1955 would presume it to be an alien spacecraft.
Thomas F. Wilson almost had his collarbone broken in the scene where Marty and Biff are about to fight in the cafeteria, as Eric Stoltz roughed up Tom for real, take after take, despite repeated requests from Tom to tone down the aggression. Tom later said he was about to return the favor during filming of the car park scene outside the dance, but Eric was fired before that confrontation could take place.
A persistent myth is that Michael J. Fox had to learn to skateboard for the film. In fact, he was a reasonably skilled skateboarder, having ridden throughout high school. However, Per Welinder acted as a skateboarding double for the complex scenes. He also choreographed and coordinated the skateboarding action together with Robert Schmelzer.
According to an interview he did on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), Crispin Glover lost his voice, due to nervousness, while filming this movie. For some scenes, he had to silently mouth his lines, with his voice being dubbed in later at a recording studio.
At the London Comic Con 2015, Michael J. Fox admitted that his four children (one son and three daughters in their teens and twenties) never saw this movie.
During his time on the film, and being a method actor, Eric Stoltz refused to answer to any other name, but that of his character, Marty Mcfly. When Christopher Lloyd was told that Stoltz was to be replaced, he asked 'Who's Eric?" and after further explanation added "Oh, I really thought his name was Marty".
It took three hours in make-up to turn the twenty-three-year-old Lea Thompson into the forty-seven-year-old Lorraine.
The parts of the script with references to President Ronald Reagan needed to be reviewed by the White House for approval, so as not to offend the President. Producers had some concerns over Reagan's reaction to Doc Brown's famous line mocking the improbability of his being President in 1985, but Reagan was said to get a real kick out of it.
Producer Neil Canton offered the role of Doc Brown to Christopher Lloyd after having worked together on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). Lloyd originally turned it down, but changed his mind after his wife convinced him to take the role. He improvised some of his lines.
The University of Southern California Film school's writing classes use the screenplay for Back to the Future as the model of "The Perfect Screenplay".
From the day the film wrapped to the day it was released was a mere nine and a half weeks, an unprecedentedly short lead time for a major movie release.
According to Bob Gale, Johnny Depp auditioned for the role of Marty McFly: "I looked through the notes, and I said, 'Geez, I don't even remember that we read Johnny Depp!' So whatever he did, it wasn't all that memorable, I guess!"
Michael J. Fox has said that Marty's being characterized as riding skateboards, chasing girls, and interests in playing music, with hopes of becoming a rock star, was the exact same way he was during his own high school days.
Doc Brown refers to "jigawatts" of electricity. This is the now-obscure but once-standard pronunciation of the word "gigawatt," one billion watts. Nowadays it is usually pronounced with a hard "g." In romance languages, however, it's pronounced with a soft "g."
Although Eric Stoltz's scenes were all re-shot with Michael J. Fox, in two instances, Stoltz remained. During one scene in the 1950s diner, there is a close-up of Biff's face as Marty launches a punch at him, and this was not re-shot, so that as well as Stoltz's hand and arm, his head is also visible to the left of the screen for a few frames. Also, in the scenes in which the Libyans are chasing Marty, the DeLorean was driven by Stoltz.
When Thomas F. Wilson is asked about this movie by enthusiastic fans, he will often hand them a postcard of frequently asked questions as a timesaver.
While filming the "parking" scene with Marty and young Lorraine in the car, the production crew decided to play a practical joke at Michael J. Fox's expense. The scene called for Fox to drink from a prop liquor bottle filled with water and do a spit take when he sees Lorraine with a cigarette. For a specific take however, the prop liquor bottle was switched for one which contained real alcohol inside. Fox, unaware of this, performed the scene and drank from the bottle, only to discover the switch after-the-fact. The full gag is featured on the "Outtakes" section of the DVD.
The test audience, to whom the movie was initially screened, was not told that the movie was intended to be a comedy. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale recalled that the atmosphere in the cinema started to get really tense during the scene where Einstein the dog is sent through time, because the audience was expecting that something gruesome had happened to the dog.
Huey Lewis was asked by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale to write a song for the film. However, the two Bobs were not thrilled with the first song Huey brought back to them. After explaining what they were hoping for, Huey came back with "The Power of Love". He was then told they needed one more song, and so, upon viewing a cut of the film, Huey got the inspiration for "Back in Time".
The film was banned in China mainland for a while because the notion of time travel "disrespects history". The ban has been lifted by now.
A marketer hoped to get a prominent placement for California Raisins somewhere in the film. He suggested putting a bowl of raisins on a table at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. He had also told the California Raisins board that this would do for raisins what E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) did for Reese's Pieces. Bob Gale informed him that a bowl of raisins would photograph like a bowl of dirt. The only thing that appears in the film is Marty jumping over Red, sleeping on a bench that is advertising California Raisins. Unhappy with their product placement, the California Raisins representatives complained to the producers, and had their $5,000 refunded.
Marty McFly mimics famous rock stars during the later part of his performance at the school dance, when he starts playing heavy metal. His kicking of speakers (The Who), full circle guitar strum (Pete Townshend of The Who/Bruce Springsteen) playing the guitar while lying down (Angus Young of AC/DC), hopping across the stage with one leg kicked up (Chuck Berry/Young) and his solo (Jimi Hendrix/Edward Van Halen).
When Robert Zemeckis was trying to sell the idea of this film, one of the companies he approached was Disney, who turned it down because they thought that the premise of a mother falling in love with her son (albeit by a twist of time travel) was too risqué for a film under their banner. In fact, Disney was the only company to consider the film too risqué. All other companies said that the film was not risqué enough, compared to other teen comedies at the time (for example, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), Revenge of the Nerds (1984), et cetera).
The script never called for Marty to repeatedly bang his head on the gull-wing door of the DeLorean; this was improvised during filming as the door mechanism became faulty.
Michael J. Fox was allowed by the producer of Family Ties (1982) to film this movie on the condition that he kept his full schedule on the television show, meaning no write-outs or missing episodes, and filmed most of the movie at night. He was not allowed to go on Back to the Future (1985) promotional tours.
In the opening sequence, all of Doc's clocks read 7:53 (twenty-five minutes slow, as said by Doc on the phone) except for some broken clocks on the floor. One of them, next to the case of plutonium, reads about 8:20 (unclear because of the angle) which would make it the only clock in the room right on time.
Another deleted scene shows Marty peeking in on a class in 1955 and seeing his mother cheating on a test.
When Doc Brown first sends Einstein "one minute" into the future, the time elapsed between when the DeLorean disappears and reappears is actually one minute and twenty-one seconds, just as the reappearance occurred at 1:21 a.m., and the flux capacitor required 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.
The Screen Actors Guild can't have two people with the same name on their books. So Michael J. Fox inserted the letter J in his name to differentiate himself from an actor called Michael Fox. In Back to the Future (1985), Marty goes back to the year 1955. His dad is a huge fan of the show Science Fiction Theatre, something Marty uses to his advantage. The original Michael Fox starred in the real Science Fiction Theatre in the year 1955.
During Doc's demo of the time machine, just before he is about to leave for the future, he tells Marty "I'll get to see who wins the next twenty-five World Series." At the time the scene was written and shot, no one was thinking there would be a sequel, let alone one where the hook Back to the Future Part II (1989) would be Marty wanting to get a hold of a "sports almanac" so he could bet on games.
The 1985 version of Doc's home is the garage that Marty and Doc hide the DeLorean in, in 1955. In the opening scene, an article shows that the mansion burned down years before, either for insurance money or due to an explosive experiment. The presence of the commercial development also implies that Doc sold the land surrounding the house for more money to fund his project. After all, he does state later that it took "many years and his entire family fortune" to build the time machine.
Despite Marty and Jennifer crediting Doc as the origin of the repeated line "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything" (Jennifer claims it is something he always says), Doc never says the line once in any of the Back to the Future movies. It is Marty who says it first, to his father after the dance. Later, an even older George McFly uses the line.
Thomas F. Wilson disliked working with Eric Stoltz, finding him a little too serious and aggressive. Before Stoltz was released, they had already filmed the near-fight between Marty and Biff in the high school cafeteria. During takes of this scene, Stoltz would push back on Wilson so hard that Wilson got bruises. Although in real life, Wilson was nothing like the bully that Biff is, he wanted to get his revenge. He had planned to get back at Stoltz by giving him a real punch in the gut during the scene where he pulls Marty out of the car at the dance. Stoltz was fired before Wilson got that chance.
Sid Sheinberg, the head of Universal Pictures, requested many changes to be made throughout the movie. Most of these he got, such as having "Professor Brown" changed to "Doc Brown" and his chimp Shemp changed to a dog named Einstein. Marty's mother's name had previously been Meg and then Eileen, but Sheinberg insisted that she be named Lorraine after his wife Lorraine Gary.
In a 2018 interview, Lea Thompson said when she was a young actress starting out in Hollywood, a "very famous agent" assessed her options for her. "She told me, 'Here's your career, Lea: virgins, whores and mothers," Thompson recalled with a laugh. "And then I realized why Back to the Future is such a great part. Because I got to play a virgin, a whore and mother all in one movie."
When Marty pretends to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan, he plays a tape labelled "Edward Van Halen" to scare George out of his sleep. It is an untitled Edward Van Halen original, written for The Wild Life (1984), which featured Lea Thompson, and starred Eric Stoltz.
Eric Stoltz insisted that the cast and crew address him as Marty, even when cameras weren't rolling. He would also wear Marty's wardrobe while travelling to and from the set each day. According to Tom Wilson, the only time that method-acting Stoltz would break character was when Eric would actively flirt with Lea Thompson in between takes.
According to Michael J. Fox on the 2010 DVD and Blu-ray interviews, the interior of the DeLorean was so tight due to the added props that every time he had to shift gears, he would repeatedly hit his forearm on the handle that turns on the time circuits and he would also rap his knuckles hard against the time display board. If you pay attention during the car chase with the terrorists, you can hear these hits every time Marty uses the shifter.
According to Bob Gale, in one of the early drafts of the script, Marty's original last name was McDermott, but it was thought to have too many syllables. It was Robert Zemeckis who then came up with naming him McFly.
Billy Zane makes his first on-screen appearance in this film as "Match", one of Biff's cronies.
A Texaco gas station is shown in both 1955 and 1985. Interestingly, Christopher Lloyd's maternal grandfather was one of the founders of the Texaco oil company.
On November 5, 2010, a large number of fans gathered at the Puente Hills Mall to kick off a week long series of events to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this movie. It was here that the city mayor declared October 21, 2010 officially Back To The Future Day for the city.
When Claudia Wells temporarily dropped out due to scheduling conflicts involving the short lived television series Off the Rack (1984), Melora Hardin was briefly cast as Jennifer opposite Eric Stoltz, but had to be replaced after Stoltz was dismissed, and it was discovered she was taller than Michael J. Fox. Hardin was dismissed before she had a chance to shoot a single scene, having only posed for a picture with Stoltz on the set, which was to be developed into the snapshot Marty carries with him.
The gas-powered struts that hold the De Lorean's gullwing doors open would fail during the course of filming a take, so crew members had to be on stand-by with hairdryers to warm them up to stop the doors from drooping.
Christopher Lloyd based his performance as Doc Brown on a combination of physicist Albert Einstein and conductor Leopold Stokowski. Brown's pronunciation of gigawatts as "jigawatts" is based on the way a physicist with whom Zemeckis and Gale met for research said the word.
Michael J. Fox is only ten days younger than Lea Thompson who plays his mother, and is almost three years older than his on-screen father Crispin Glover.
DeLoreans are still built today in Texas using old stock and reproductions. The models built now feature a flux capacitator - which of course is just for decoration.
In the French translation of the movie, Marty McFly is called "Pierre Cardin" in 1955, instead of "Calvin Klein". In the Spanish translation, Marty is called "Levi Strauss" in 1955.
When Marty McFly leaves Doc Brown's garage because he is late for school, Bob Gale mentioned in a commentary that the garage was actually a flat put next to a Burger King restaurant in Burbank. As part of their agreement with Burger King, the studio wasn't given any money from the restaurant for their cameo, but Burger King did allow the crew to film their scenes for free, and allowed them to park there.
The film went on to inspire the animated adult comedy Rick and Morty (2013), which has gone on to be a equally popular franchise, and is the most viewed series on Adult Swim. The show focuses on a stuttering scientist named Rick and his young, often fearful, companion Morty, both complete spoofs of the original characters.
Match (Billy Zane) is the only one of Biff's three sidekicks without a single line in the entire movie. It's not until Back to the Future Part II (1989) that Match finally has a line.
Alan Silvestri's orchestra for the score of the film was the largest ever assembled at that time (eighty-five musicians).
When Marty first arrives in 1955, he crashes into the farm of Old Man Peabody, who has a son named Sherman. This was in tribute to a segment in the The Bullwinkle Show (1959) television series, "Peabody's Improbable History", featuring the intelligent talking dog Mr. Peabody and his boy Sherman, who travel to different times in history using the W.A.B.A.C. Machine, and serve as a major inspiration for Doc Brown, Marty McFly, and the DeLorean time machine. In turn, the feature film Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014), based on the "Peabody's Improbable History" segment, pays tribute to this movie with not only its overall style, but a clever reference in a scene where Peabody and Sherman travel at unbelievably high speeds in the W.A.B.A.C., travelling at eighty-eight miles per hour (and higher), much like the DeLorean.
As of 2011, the Hill Valley clock tower set has been through three different fires. The first one happened shortly after the finishing of Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990) (filming was done simultaneously) where all the original surrounding buildings burned to the ground by lightning. The second fire in 1994 almost destroyed the structure. In 2008, the fire that destroyed the nearby King Kong (1933) ride/set, along with two archive vaults and the New York street, slightly scorched the tower.
In the original script, Doc Brown and Marty sell bootleg videos in order to fund the time machine. This plot point was removed at Universal's request, as they did not want to be seen as promoting movie piracy.
According to the website of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, President Ronald Reagan watched the film for the first time at Camp David on Friday, July 26, 1985 (three weeks after its release). Watching the film alongside the president was his wife, Nancy, and several aides including speechwriter Mark Weinberg. Although Reagan's fondness for the film is well-documented, Weinberg later recalled that the mention of Jane Wyman's name during one of the scenes made for a very awkward and uncomfortable moment in the room for the president and first lady. Apparently the subject of the president's first wife (from whom he had divorced in 1949) was such a sensitive one that White House staff members abided by an unofficial ban on ever speaking her name within earshot of any member of the First Family, according to Weinberg.
The space alien gag first appeared in the screenplay's third draft, with the primary difference being that it was to be done to Biff.
When Doc emerged from the DeLorean in a radiation suit, Marty asked him, "Is that a Devo suit?" Devo was an American post-punk musical group, whose mainstream success was mainly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The radiation suit Doc was wearing was similar to the ones Devo was known for wearing in music videos and live performances.
Executive producer Steven Spielberg initially had some reservations about hiring composer Alan Silvestri, having been unimpressed by his score for Romancing the Stone (1984). During a preview screening, in which the film was accompanied by a temporary track that only used part of Silvestri's score, Spielberg commented to Robert Zemeckis that a particularly grand cue was "the sort of music the film needed", unaware that it was indeed one of Silvestri's cues.
When Marty is playing Johhny B. Goode, and Marvin calls his cousin, Chuck Berry, on the phone to tell him about the new sound he is looking for, this is all taking place on November 12, 1955. On that date in actuality, Berry was named most promising new R&B artists by Billboard.
The main setting, 1955, is the year that Albert Einstein, the dog's namesake, died.
The Burger King, Toys R' Us, and Adult Theatre that can be seen in the beginning of the movie was confirmed not to be product placement. It was confirmed by Robert Zemeckis that all those places just happened to be there while they were filming.
This movie holds the record of staying at number one at the box-office for three solid months.
The house used for Doc Brown's house is the Gamble House at 4 Westmoreland Avenue, Pasadena, California. It was the house of the Gamble family until 1966, when it was turned over to the University of Southern California. It is now a historical museum.
In the first scene at the diner, Marty asks for a Pepsi Free. This refers to a brand of Pepsi that was the company's first caffeine free cola. Ironically, in the same scene, Marty asks for a Tab, which was actually a diet cola brand produced by Pepsi's rival Coca-Cola. Regardless, both orders confused the man behind the counter.
When the DeLorean is introduced and Doc Brown comes out of it, smoke is pouring out of the interior of the car. This never happens again, and is never explained.
It always seemed strange that when Marty dressed in his "Darth Vadar" costume to scare George into going along with the plan, the cassette he used was labeled "Edward Van Helen" as opposed to the band's actual name, Van Halen. Turns out the band denied the filmmakers' request to use their music, but Eddie Van Halen agreed to perform a few licks on his own, something that went unknown until he admitted it years later.
When Marty tells Doc that Ronald Reagan is President in 1985, Doc scoffs by asking if Jane Wyman is the First Lady. Wyman had actually been married to Reagan from 1940 to 1948, though Reagan was already married to Nancy Reagan in 1955.
A very brief scene was cut in-between the scenes of the McFly family dinner and Marty being woken up by Doc's phone call. It involved Marty preparing to send his demo tape to a record company. Marty decides not to do it, and leaves the empty manila envelope on his desk. In a scene that remains in the film, he goes to breakfast with the manila envelope sealed, suggesting he decided to send it in.
The set for Kingston Falls in Gremlins (1984) is the same one used for this movie. Both movies were filmed in the Universal Studios backlot. Additionally, Francis Lee McCain (who played Lorraine's mother Stella Baines) also played Billy's mother, Lynn Peltzer, in Gremlins (1984).
Alan Silvestri's score begins eighteen minutes into the movie, appropriately when the DeLorean time machine is revealed.
During filming, Crispin Glover would appear to be so nervous (because he was still starting out as an actor), that he would be speechless, but this improved his character of George McFly, since George is a nervous guy. Glover even had do voice over recordings for his character, because he was too nervous to speak.
Robert Zemeckis dubbed the picture "the film that would not wrap". He recalled that because they shot night after night, he was always "half asleep" and the "fattest, most out-of-shape and sick I ever was".
The time machine has been through several variations. In the first draft of the screenplay the time machine was a laser device that was housed in a room. At the end of the first draft the device was attached to a refrigerator and taken to an atomic bomb test. Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside. (See also Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).) The Nevada desert bomb test was left out in order to reduce the budget. In the third draft of the film the time machine was a DeLorean, but in order to send Marty back to the future the vehicle had to drive the DeLorean into an atomic bomb test.
As Marty is entering his high school in 1985, the building appears run down and has been covered with graffiti. One of the pieces of graffiti reads: "Lea loves Calvin". It serves as an Easter Egg of sorts, as it points to Lea Thompson's 1955 character falling head-over-heels for "Calvin Klein".
The Twin Pines Mall is, in fact, the Puente Hills Mall in City of Industry, California. Today, JCPenney is no longer an anchor there.
Lea Thompson was cast as Lorraine McFly because she had acted opposite Eric Stoltz, the original actor cast as Marty, in The Wild Life (1984).
Steven Spielberg gives a nod to Stanley Kubrick in the first few minutes of the film. When Marty is first over at Doc's house looking for him and doesn't find him, he hooks up his guitar to Doc's electrical equipment. The first dial he turns up is labeled CRM 114, which Kubrick used as a reference throughout many of his films.
When Marty is walking down the street to the Soda Fountain in 1955, the music score is the The Four Aces singing "Mr. Sandman". He passes a record shop with a poster in the window advertising The Chordettes' original version of the song.
The first episode of The Twilight Zone (1959), "Where is Everybody?", opens with a young man wandering a town square in confusion, asking himself if he is having a bad dream. This sequence not only greatly resembles Marty's arrival in the Hill Valley of 1955 in this movie, but was shot on the same Courthouse Square backlot at Universal Studios.
In the Back to the Future trilogy, the "present" date* is October 26, 1985 (2015 is the future, 1885 and 1955 are the past). Exactly twenty-five years later on October 26, 2010, the Back to the Future trilogy was released on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary Edition. *Except for the last scene of part one, where Marty wakes up the next day to find everything has changed.
John Lithgow, Dudley Moore, and Jeff Goldblum were all considered for the role of Doc Brown.
The "present day" date, on which the initial time travel occurs, is October 26, 1985. However, the film debuted before that date (the U.S. premiere was July 5, 1985). This means that, from the film's perspective, audiences who saw the film during its initial release in some markets (U.S., Australia, West Germany, and Italy) were actually seeing the "future", which is a nice coincidence, considering the film's subject.
When 1955 Doc Brown sees the videotape of himself explaining the need for 1.21 "jigawatts" of power, he goes back to the house and is seen talking to a picture frame that he refers to as "Tom". When he returns the picture to the mantle we can see that is was Thomas A. Edison, with whom he was speaking. To Edison's left on the mantle are Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin, to his right is Albert Einstein, Doc's inspiration for time machine invention.
Biff Tannen is named in homage to Ned Tanen, one-time head of Universal, who threw Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis' script for I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978) on the floor in a heated meeting, accusing it of being anti-Semitic. This was despite the fact that Bob Gale is Jewish.
C. Thomas Howell was originally cast for two weeks as Marty McFly, even rehearsing with Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson. After Mask (1985) became a surprise hit, the filmmakers decided to recast the role with Eric Stoltz and replaced Howell.
The owner of the home where the tree from which George McFly (Crispin Glover) dangles is a small-time producer who does documentaries and biographies. Several years after this film was released, he put together a fifteen minute documentary on the tree on Bushnell Avenue that was used in the film, featuring never before seen footage.
This is the only film in the trilogy in which Marty is not called a coward by Biff or any of his family members.
In April 2020, Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale finally decided to explain the plot-hole question about why Marty's parents didn't remember him as the kid in high school who got them together. He told The Hollywood Reporter, "Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for eight days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those eight days. So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date." He continued, "But I would ask anyone to think back on their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester. Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you'd probably have just a hazy recollection. So Lorraine and George might think it funny that they once actually met someone named Calvin Klein, and even if they thought their son at age 16 or 17 had some resemblance to him, it wouldn't be a big deal. I'd bet most of us could look thru our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teen-aged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children."
Crispin Glover based his performance as forty-seven-year-old George, in the early part of the film, on Jack Nance's portrayal of Henry Spencer in Eraserhead (1977). While filming George's writing scene in 1955, Crispin attempted to have the scene shot with his hair standing straight up, like that of Henry Spencer. When Robert Zemeckis rejected the idea, saying it would not match what was shot the previous day, Crispin allegedly replied, "Brando never matched."
Lea Thompson's character Lorraine is demonstrated to have an alcohol problem to varying degrees throughout the entire trilogy. Lea's name first appears in the film right at the same time as the "drinking man" clock in Doc's lab is shown.
The reference to Calvin Klein in the bedroom scene is a reference to a fad of the 1950s where people would have their names stitched into their underwear.
On November 10, 2010, Bob Gale received a plaque from the principal of Whitter High School (Hill Valley High School) in dedication of the film. This plaque can be seen by the students of the school near the front end of the building, stating that this movie had been shot there.
On June 2, 2008, a massive fire broke out in the backlot destroying two archive video vaults and the New York City set used for Spider-Man 3 (2007), which is right across from the Hill Valley clock tower, which was minorly scorched by the time the fire was out.
Wendie Jo Sperber, who played Linda McFly, was three years older than Lea Thompson, who played her mother, and six years older than Crispin Glover, who played her father.
According to Marty's supposed age of seventeen (by 1985), he was born in 1968, thirteen years after his parents met, during his first adventure in the past (in 1955).
After Einstein travels into the future, Doc compares his watch to Einstein's watch to show the difference. Physicist Albert Einstein described a stationary clock versus a moving one in order to illustrate Relativity (the latter clock moving more slowly).
Doc's phone number in 1955 is Klondike 54385. The letters "K" and "L" are both on the digit 5; thus, the number still begins with the 555- prefix, indicating a fictional number.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the ten greatest films in the genre "Sci-Fi" in June 2008.
The DeLorean time machine is a licensed, registered vehicle in the state of California. While the vanity license plate used in the film says "OUTATIME", the DeLorean's actual license plate reads 3CZV657.
There are several mentions to the Davy Crockett craze that took place throughout the mid 1950s. When Marty first walks through 1955 Hill Valley, he sees a sign advertising new Davy Crockett records. When he goes into Lou's diner, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", sung by the title star Fess Parker, is heard on the jukebox. When Marty sits down to dinner with Lorraine's family, Lorraine's younger brother is wearing a coonskin cap.
The film was initially rejected by every other major studio. Most studios rejected the film because it wasn't raunchy enough, as the most successful teenage comedies at the time were of such nature. Disney rejected the film, as they felt the angle of a mother falling in love with her son was inappropriate for their films. In addition, studios were wary of Robert Zemeckis's work, as the films he had previously directed were largely flops. The unexpected success of Romancing the Stone (1984), which was directed by Zemeckis, boosted his profile, resulting in studios taking a second look at his movie proposals.
When the McFly family is sitting down for dinner before Marty travels back in time (early in the movie), Michael J. Fox is seen drinking a can of Pepsi. Fox was a major endorser of Pepsi in 1985, and some viewers criticized this scene as being a thinly-disguised commercial.
The speedometer shown is not an original DeLorean speedometer. It has a top speed of ninety-five miles per hour. This allows the movie DeLorean to reach eighty-eight miles per hour, as judged by that speedometer, although that speedometer shown does not exist on a real DeLorean. The original DeLorean vehicle can reach eighty-eight miles per hour, but the speedometer tops out at eighty-five miles per hour, and the needle would be pegged at the limit of the speedometer giving no ability to judge the speed. This is because of a 1979 traffic safety law that insured all speedometers in cars released after September of that year to top out at eighty-five miles per hour, in an effort to encourage drivers to travel at "safer" speeds. The law was overturned less than two years later, but by that time, DeLorean had gone out of business. There is the possibility, however, that Doc modified the instrument panel of the DeLorean for this very reason.
In a bonus outtake scene, Marty impersonates a "cholo", or Latino gangster while watching his mom cheating on a test, many crew members can be heard laughing in the background. The scene can be found on the DVD bonus features.
In 1955, Doc Brown scoffs at the notion of Ronald Reagan becoming the President, he says "I suppose Jack Benny is the Secretary of the Treasury!" This is a reference to Benny's stage and screen persona as a "tightwad" with money.
Ralph Macchio was offered the role of Marty McFly, but he turned it down because he thought the movie was about "A kid, a car, and plutonium pills". Had he accepted, he would have been reunited with his girlfriend in Parts II and III since Elisabeth Shue played Jennifer Parker, Marty McFly's girlfriend, who also played Daniel's girlfriend in The Karate Kid (1984). Ralph's character played electric guitar in Crossroads (1986), and Marty McFly plays guitar in this movie.
Melora Hardin was originally cast as Jennifer, but was let go after Eric Stoltz was dismissed, with the explanation that the actress was now too tall to be playing against Fox. Hardin was dismissed before she had a chance to shoot a single scene and was replaced with Claudia Wells.
According to Bob Gale, when the movie was shown recently on broadcast television, the lines about "Libyan terrorists" were altered for "political correctness". This is similar to the issues Gale and Robert Zemeckis had with a terrorist scene in Used Cars (1980).
Though the film Marty (1955) won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1955, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale say in the DVD Q&A session, that they were not aware of this fact when they named their main character Marty. Both films also have a diner owner named Lou.
The two red labels on the flux capacitor say "Disconnect Capacitor Drive Before Opening" (at the top) and "Shield Eyes From Light".
The man driving the Jeep to which Marty hangs on at the beginning of the movie is stunt coordinator Walter Scott.
This movie was one of the first to be shot at the Universal backlot, after an unusually long period of the studio not using their own site as a filming location.
Eric Stolz has stated that despite having worked on the film for several weeks, he has no memory of it.
J.J. Cohen originally considered for the role of Biff after Eric Stoltz was cast as Marty. He was replaced by Thomas F. Wilson because Cohen was considered not physically imposing enough next to the six-foot-tall Stoltz. Cohen was cast as one of Biff's gang. According to Bob Gale, had Michael J. Fox been cast from the beginning, Cohen would have probably won the part, because he was much taller than the five-foot-four Fox.
The Back to the Future trilogy is ranked at #9 on IGN's Top 25 Movie Franchises of All Time (2006).
Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines McFly) turned down the role of Kristine Evelyn-DeLuca in A Chorus Line (1985) to appear in this film.
Another of the numerous notes sent to Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale from Universal studio head Sid Sheinberg were to change Doc Brown's original sidekick from a chimpanzee to a dog (Sheinberg argued that no film with a monkey in it ever made money, disregarding the recent Clint Eastwood hits Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980)). Sheinberg retorted that the simian in those films was an orangutan, not a chimp.
The comic book "Tales from Space" pays homage to EC Comics, a controversial and influential line of 1950s comics. If you look carefully at the cover of the comic, you can see the EC logo in the upper left. Although there was no "Tales from Space" by EC (Their science fiction titles were "Weird Science" and "Weird Fantasy"), there was a comic titled "Tales from the Crypt." Robert Zemeckis is a fan of the now defunct EC, and served as an Executive Producer, and directed some episodes of Tales from the Crypt (1989).
Both Crispin Glover and Eric Stoltz were hotheaded character actors who were associated with the franchise; who clashed with Bob Zemeckis and then ended up disconnecting with the franchise for these personal reasons.
In the beginning, Doc meets Marty at Twin Pines Mall, in the closing scene Marty goes to save Doc at the Lone Pines Mall, same spot, only now named for the single tree after Marty runs over the 2nd tree when he arrives in 1955 on Peabody's farm
Thomas F. Wilson is a very nice man in real life who drew upon his own personal experiences of being bullied as a child to create the Biff persona.
In the first draft of the screenplay written in 1980 and 1981, Marty was a video pirate. The films that he pirated included Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Stir Crazy (1980), and Superman II (1980). This element was removed from subsequent drafts, as no studio wanted to make a film in which the hero was a video pirate.
The lion statues in front of the Lyon Estates subdivisions were inspired by two like statues in the University City Loop in St. Louis, where writer Bob Gale grew up.
The school that served as Hill Valley High School was Whittier High School in Whittier, California, just outside of Los Angeles. Richard Nixon is an alumnus (class of 1930) and Pat Nixon taught there from 1937 to 1941. Also, just beyond the school is where Strickland's house is, as seen later in Back to the Future Part II (1989). The back side of the school can be seen as Marty jogs up to the porch.
Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale's Oscar-nominated screenplay was written just after they'd made Used Cars (1980).
The jukebox in the diner in 1955 is the same type of jukebox in Doc Brown's house in the beginning of the movie.
The name "D. Jones" appears on the side of the manure truck. This is a reference to unit production manager Dennis E. Jones.
"Marvin Berry & the Starlighters" consists of: Harry Waters Jr. - Lead Vocals Tommy Thomas - Saxophone Granville 'Danny' Young - Double Bass David Harold Brown - Drums Lloyd L. Tolbert - Piano
In the scene where Doc is reviewing the video tape from 1985, Doc would have had to fashioned some sort of an adapter to hook into his television set, as videotape technology of any type was not developed until 1958.
In the early scenes "the Clock Tower" shows no damage to the concrete ledge below the clock. However the damage, caused by the Doc character, does exist when the Marty character returns to 1985. A Bell Jet Ranger helicopter flies overhead & directs a light to accentuate & clearly show the damage. The change clearly delineates that Marty returned to an alternate time line.
In 2006, it was voted the 56th best screenplay of all time by the Writers Guild of America.
When George McFly says "density" in lieu of "destiny", the Japanese version has him say "unten" (drive) when he meant to say "unmei" (destiny).
This movie romanticized The DeLorean DMC-12, which is regarded as one of the worst cars of all time. The cast and crew reported on the DVD commentary that the cars often broke down causing minor delays in production.
In the opening scene, all the clocks are set 25 minutes slow (per Doc Brown) except for the 2 clocks used to trigger automation: the one on the coffee maker and the one that turns on the TV.
The town square and clock tower can be found at coordinates: 34.141426,-118.349783, located on the Universal backlot.
It was included on the New York Times' Best 1000 Movies Ever Made in 2003, and Total Film's 100 Greatest Movies list in 2010. It was ranked #28 on Entertainment Weekly's 50 Best High School Movies in 2006, and #15 on Entertainment Weekly's 20 Best Summer Blockbusters Of All Time in 2014. In 2008, it was #23 on Empire Magazine's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time, and in 2014, it was #17 on Empire Magazine's 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time. In that same year, it was ranked #2 on Rolling Stone's 25 Greatest 80's Movies.
Marty's guitars used throughout the movie: Erlewine Chiquita ("big amp" sequence); Ibanez black Roadstar II (scenes of Marty's band performing in the 80s); and a Gibson 1963 ES-345TD (Marty performing at the dance).
There are two scenes in the 1985 parking lot chase scene where the miles on the odometers don't match. On the DVD commentary, director Robert Zemeckis says this is due to multiple DeLoreans being used in the shoot.
Several Pepsi references are visible through time in the movie: During the opening sequence, when all clocks ring at 8:00 a.m. (twenty-five minutes slow) there's a Pepsi board visible in the upper right corner of the frame. 1985: A Pepsi Cola can is visible when Marty's band is playing in front of the jury at Hill Valley High School. 1985: Diet Pepsi can when Marty and his father are talking about the wrecked car. 1985: Diet Pepsi can next to Marty when he sleeps, before Doc calls. Clock shows 12:28 a.m. 1955: When Marty enters Lou's Cafe, Pepsi thermometer on the upper right of the wall. 1955: When George meets Marty at the Texaco gas station, a Pepsi machine is visible. Marty takes a can out and drinks it. 1955: When Marvin Berry & The Starlighters are playing at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, a Pepsi-Cola suitcase is standing under the amp. 1955: Pepsi bottle in Marvin Berry & The Starlighters' car, when the brats put Marty in the trunk.
In the beginning sequence, when panning through all the clocks at Doc's house, there is one which has a man hanging off the hands of the clock. This is from a scene in Harold Lloyd's film, Safety Last! (1923).
The license plate on a car outside the band audition (which says "FOR MARY") is a tribute to Mary T. Radford, Personal Assistant to Second Unit Director Frank Marshall.
During the production of Used Cars (1980), Zemeckis and Gale had a production assistant named "Marty" (Martin Casella) whose name they then used for "Marty McFly".
Marty goes back in time to November 5, 1955. The same "time travel arrival date" was used in Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann (1982) (November 5, 1877), and Time After Time (1979) (November 5, 1979).
When Marty first arrives in the past, the song "Mr. Sandman" by The Four Aces plays. It is a remake of a song by the same name by The Chordettes. When the camera is showing the record store, a record of The Chordettes can be seen in the window.
Alan Silvestri composed a short jingle for the Back to the Future logo at the opening credits, but it was scrapped eventually. Thus, Silvestri's first composition does not appear until eighteen minutes into the movie. In 2009, the entire orchestral score including the jingle was released for the first time on CD by the Intrada record label.
Science Fiction Theatre: The Hastings Secret (1955) is the episode of Science Fiction Theatre (1955) that George McFly (Crispin Glover) missed when he took Lorraine Baines (Lea Thompson) to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance on November 12, 1955.
In 1955, Lorraine remarks that Marty is "such a nice name." In the "new" 1985, however, she still named her first son David.
From November 5, 2010 to November 12, 2010, week-long events were planned to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary that was for the fans, and by the fans. The web page that hosted this was weregoingback.com. Since the ending of the events, the web page was devoted to the pictures and videos taken during the course of that week.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
The backlot used as the town of Hill Valley, was also seen in the first episode of The Twilight Zone (1959).
In the earlier drafts in the screenplay, the flux capacitor was called the temporal field capacitor.
In various interviews, Lea Thompson (Lorraine McFly) has said on screen husband Crispin Glover (George Mcfly) was the most brilliant comedic actor in the whole franchise. And although Glover and the production parted ways; and he ended up suing Zemeckis and company for using his likeness in Part 2 without his permission; Thompson says in spite of the all of the production team including Zemeckis secretly agree with her; that Glover is the #1 comic genius behind the whole series.
According to the documentary on the Blu-ray, the two cat sculptures standing beside the clock were originally created for Cat People (1982).
While the McFlys were at the dinner table in 1985, George McFly was watching The Honeymooners (1955) episode where Ralph Kramden was dressed up as a man from space. While the Baines family was sitting down for dinner in 1955 with Marty, the family was watching the same episode.
The DeLorean used in the trilogy was a 1981 DMC-12 model, with a six-cylinder PRV (Peugeot, Renault, Volvo) engine. The base for the nuclear-reactor was made from the hubcap from a Dodge Polaris. In the 2002 Special Edition DVD of the Back to the Future trilogy, it is incorrectly stated that the DeLorean had a standard four-cylinder engine.
When a policeman asks Doc for a permit for the weather experiment, he (Doc) can be seen opening his wallet in the background while Marty is sneaking his warning note about the future. This could suggest that Doc is bribing the policeman.
In reality, the episode of The Honeymooners (1955) Marty watches at the Baines' house did not air the night of his unexpected visit on November 5, 1955. The proper episode should have been The Honeymooners: The Sleepwalker (1955) but instead it was The Honeymooners: The Man from Space (1955), which originally aired later, on New Year's Eve 1955.
October 21, 2015 was celebrated as "Back to the Future Day" on UK television. All three films were shown, along with a mockumentary and time travel suggestions tweeted by viewers. For this movie, the censors usually changed Doc Brown's line "When this baby reaches eighty-eight miles per hour, you're gonna see some serious shit" to "serious stuff." On this screening, the censors cut the whole line.
Lea Thompson was cast as Lorraine McFly because she had acted opposite Eric Stoltz in The Wild Life (1984); the producers noticed her as they had watched the film while casting Stoltz.
Terence McGovern filmed a deleted scene, in which his character forces George McFly to buy a whole case of his daughter's peanut brittle.
Michael J. Fox did not actually sing "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry, and Marty McFly's singing voice was Mark Campbell.
The film takes place from October 25 to October 26, 1985 and from November 5 to November 12, 1955.
There is an adult movie theatre behind Marty McFly showing Orgy American Style (1973) in the "Save the Clock Tower" scene. It's one of the things he looks at when he gets back from the past, along with Red the Bum (George "Buck" Flower) on a bench, before saying "Everything looks great!"
In July 2015, it was ranked #56 on BBC Culture's 100 Greatest American Movies in a poll of 61 Film Critics.
On November 12, 2010, the Hollywood Methodist Church, where the Enchantment Under the Sea dance was filmed, was opened for the fans along with J.J. Cohen, Claudia Wells, Jeffrey Weissman, Bob Gale, Courtney Gains, and a few other members of the cast and crew.
While it was planned to use the date, November 5 in the film, which happens to be Bob Gale's father's birthday, as well as Mary Steenburgen's, interestingly enough, based on accurate calendars, November 12, 1955 occurred on Saturday.
The video camera Marty picks up at Doc's house after he gets a call from Doc Brown at night is seen during the opening credits when the camera pans around Doc's house.
Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover appeared in Family Ties (1982) and High School U.S.A. (1983).
The first draft of the script ended with George McFly looking at a 1955 newspaper with a picture of Marty on stage, saying "Nah, couldn't be. But it is..."
A third track by Huey Lewis & The News called "In the Nick of Time" was written for the film but ended up being used in Brewster's Millions (1985).
When the DeLorean leaves 1955, and fire tracks are visible on the tar road in Hill Valley, the movie showing at the theater is The Atomic Kid (1954). When he arrives in the alternative 1985, the cinema changed into an Assembly of Christ church.
The song "Earth Angel" by The Penguins is played during the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance on November 12, 1955. It was also played during the Smallville High School reunion dance in Superman III (1983). Marc McClure (Dave McFly) also appeared in that film, in which he played Jimmy Olsen.
George as a fan of science fiction and author, reads magazines called Amazing Stories, Fantastic Stories Magazine, and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Those were real magazines.
In the scene where Marty tells little baby Joey in his crib that he'd better get used to the (prison) bars, Joey is dressed in a striped outfit resembling the traditional black and white striped prison outfits of the past.
The town model Doc uses to demonstrate to Marty his plan to send him back to 1985 was the actual model set used for Hill Valley for the movie.
Einstein the dog arrives after moving forward in time for a minute at 1:21a.m. The DeLorean needs 1.21 gigawatts of electricity.
Marty McFly was ranked #12, and Doc Brown #20 on Empire Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters in 2015.
Marty, when dressed as a spaceman, claims to be Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan, as a reference to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and Star Trek: The Original Series (1966). Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) also played Klingon Commander Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984).
In between takes, Michael J. Fox would enjoy conversations with Robert Zemeckis while smoking cigarettes.
The name "Hill Valley" is a joke, being an oxymoron. However, an early script for Back to the Future Part II (1989) mentioned that Hill Valley was named after its founder, William "Bill" Hill. There is an act at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Disneyland's Fronterland called "Billy Hill & The Hillbillies". They have even released an album called "The Billys".
Claudia Wells pulled out of Back to the Future Part II (1989) because her mother had cancer and was replaced by Elisabeth Shue.
The diner where Marty first meets his father and calls Doc Brown in this movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal Studios, and is the same diner interior in which Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) meets Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw) in The Sting (1973).
Wasn't aired officially with the sequels as a trilogy collection, until fall of 2005 on television.
The number of people shown in the movie poster/DVD cover matches which film of the trilogy it is: This one shows Marty alone, Part II shows Marty & Doc (two people), and Part III shows three people; Marty, Doc, and Clara.
Producer Sid Sheinberg insisted that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale change Mrs. McFly's name from Meg to Lorraine after his wife Lorraine Gary.
In early 2020 Bob Gale posted a comment on a reddit board about why Marty's parents didn't recognize him when he came back to the future. He said that they had only spent a week with him and that it wasn't even all of a week and that they probably would not have remembered what he looked like 20 odd some years later.
When the character of Doc is first introduced at the Twin Pine Mall. He is wearing a Gremlins (1984) notebook on his left attached to the belt.
Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson have both related a story about how they found out Eric Stolz had been fired. Wilson received a call insisting that he meet with Zemeckis and Gale in person. Told that they had "bad news," Wilson immediately started crying, fearing he had been fired. Instead they told him "We've had to let Eric go." Wilson never knew him as Eric, as he had insisted on being addressed in character. Zemeckis then told him that, in order to stay on, they would have to extend his contract to re-shoot several of Stolz's scenes. They reassured him that he would still get paid and he quickly cheered up and agreed. Thompson was missing from the set at the time. She was not needed on Friday, and so figured that she could take a long weekend in Europe where her then-boyfriend Dennis Quaid was shooting another film. It took a series of frantic phone calls from the producers to her agent and finally to her to tell her they needed her back on set in order to break the news to her that she would also need to re-shoot scenes she had done with Stolz.
Disney almost optioned to buy this script but they were turned off by the incest-oriented script.
Harold Lloyd and Christopher Lloyd hang on the hands of a clock tower in their career. Christopher does that in this movie, and Harold did that in Safety Last! (1923). The two Lloyds are not related.
In the early discussions of the DVD release format in 1997, when the format was first introduced, the Back To The Future trilogy made the "short list" of films to clean up for a proper DVD release. Unfortunately, it would take five years until the first editions were released to the public. The official release for DVD was December 17, 2002, and it would take seven more years until the fans could purchase each of the three films individually on February 10, 2009. There's also a widescreen edition released for the trilogy individually that had exclusive jacket slips that have been long out of print. This version of the widescreen release was the incorrect version.
The donning of a Burger King uniform by Marty's brother, Dave, may have been a tribute to Lea Thompson's early acting gigs as a Burger King spokesperson. When Marty McFly leaves Doc Brown's garage because he is late for school, Bob Gale mentioned in a commentary that the garage was actually a flat put next to a Burger King restaurant in Burbank. As part of their agreement with Burger King, the studio wasn't given any money from the restaurant for their cameo, but Burger King did allow the crew to film their scenes for free, and allowed them to park there. The Burger King, Toys R' Us, and Adult Theatre that can be seen in the beginning of the movie was confirmed not to be product placement. It was confirmed by Robert Zemeckis that all those places just happened to be there while they were filming.
In the movie's two time periods, the Mayors running for re-election are "Red" Thomas (in 1955) and "Goldie" Wilson (in 1985); and both have nicknames based on Hill Valley's school colors. Interestingly, their surnames form the name of Thomas F. Wilson who plays Biff Tannen.
The only other actors to have screen time in the DeLorean time machine, are the cast members from Spin City (1996), for promotion.
In early drafts of the screenplay, grown-up George McFly wasn't a successful novelist but a prizefighter, an idea spurred on by the punch he lands on Biff.
Among the many clocks shown at the beginning, one in gray tones shows a man hanging off the clock's hands. This is a direct reference to Harold Lloyd's Safety Last! (1923) which inspired the climatic scene with Doc hanging from a building's clock.
Thomas F. Wilson later had a recurring guest star role in season 4 of DC's Legends of Tomorrow (2016) as the father of time-traveling superhero Nate Heywood. As an in-joke to his role in this film, in the episode "DC's Legends of Tomorrow: Tagumo Attacks!!! (2018)", his character, getting it right, quotes "Make like a tree and leave", to which Nate replies he's "not sure that's how it goes."
In observance of the 30th anniversary of the original film a Deloran user group held a raffle for a restored Delorean. The raffle fee was $50. Many people were skeptical of the online purchase and avoided it. As a result, there were only some 850 entries. As a result, the group only received about $42,500, which barely paid for the cost of the car and renovation.
The filming of the fictitious Hill Valley High School occurred at Whittier High School, alumni of which include President Richard Nixon and former Pixar executive John Lasseter. As a child, Nixon's classmates elected him the president of their eighth grade class at East Whittier Elementary School. In a scene inside the fictitious high school, one can see in the background a campaign poster for Ron Woodward for Class President. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's investigative reporting eventually led to Nixon's resignation as President of the United States. Also, in the credits a set grip is identified as Ronald Woodward.
George McFly's novel is called "A Match Made in Space" and has a person wearing a radiation suit on the cover.
Hilldale, a subdivision of Hill Valley, bears the same name as the town in which The Donna Reed Show (1958) and (theoretically) Dennis the Menace (1959) are set.
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd appeared on Spin City (1996) and The Michael J. Fox Show (2013).
Alan Silvestri's score doesn't begin until Doc's reaction to the DeLorean being sent into the future in his initial test.
When Marty dressed up as an alien is using a cassette player (to convince his father to ask out his mother) the model is an Aiwa MK-PO2 MKII.
A cartoon show called Mr. Peabody and Sherman is about a time-travelling duo, where Mr. Peabody is a dog. Einstein the dog in this movie, is the first time traveller. There's also a character named Mr. Peabody, who has a son named "Sherman", when Marty first enters 1955.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
This is one of those movies that gets sandwiched in with the golden age of Steven Spielberg's career, even though he didn't write the script, or direct it, but rather helped Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale promote it, and served as executive producer.
Marty travels back in time to the year 1955. The winner of the Oscar for Best Picture that year was Marty (1955).
Ron Cobb was originally hired to design the DeLorean time machine, but left for another project, and was replaced by Andrew Probert.
The film spend eleven weeks at the top of the US box office although it was knocked off the top for one week by National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985).
The "Tales From Space" comic book reappeared in at least two episodes of the television series Oliver Beene (2003), and in a commercial for McDonald's Mighty Kids Meals.
The Back to the Future trilogy, Gremlins (1984) and Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) are all produced by Steven Spielberg and all have eccentric inventors and madcap inventions with pet dogs, Einstein, Barney, and Uncas.
In the background, there are nine people wearing the official Hill Valley High School jacket. The school's official colors are gold and red.
According to a casting list leaked online, a lot of actors where considered for the role of Doc Brown, or "Scientist" referred to on the list. Those considered were; Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, Joe Piscopo, Peter Boyle, Donald Sutherland, Dabney Coleman, Richard Mulligan, Ron Silver, Harold Ramis, Paul Le Mat, Albert Brooks, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Mark Blankfield, Robert Klein, James Woods, Christopher Lloyd and Danny DeVito.
Looks like the flux capacitor was borrowed from Buckaroo Bonzai. The three line device is very similar to that used in the 8th dimensional vehicle.
The Comic "Tales From Space" No. 8 Aug 54 is also seen in 3rd Rock from the Sun: Why Dickie Can't Teach (2000). At around twelve minutes and thirty seconds into the episode, Harry is reading the comic and talking to Sally.
Michael J. Fox drove nineteen versions (not different cars) of the De-Lorean with different parts cut open in order to get all the necessary camera angles.
The courthouse is no longer being used in that capacity in 1985. Just below the clock tower, the building now reads "Department of Social Services."
One of the changes made from the Twin Pines time-line and the Lone Pine time-line is that Linda McFly is not wearing glasses. Apparently, George's wealth in that time-line allowed him to afford contact lenses for her.
All 3 Back to the Future films have a Michael Jackson reference. In Back to the Future Part II (1989), Jackson is one of the virtual reality waiters at the Cafe '80s, and there were several Michael Jackson paraphernalia all over the bedroom Marty breaks into in Alternate 1985. In Back to the Future Part III (1990), Marty does the moonwalk while muttering the lyrics to Jackson's Number 1 hit "Billie Jean" when Buford Tannen shoots at his feet. In this film, 1985 Hill Valley mayor candidate (and 1955 Lou's Diner cook) Goldie Wilson is played by Donald Fullilove, who performed the voice of young Michael Jackson in the Jackson 5ive (1971) animated series.
Lou's cafe in 1955 becomes the aerobics center Marty passes in the beginning in 1985.
The phone number for Doc Brown in 1955 is the same phone number that Jennifer writes on the back of the flyer for Marty in 1985 that she says is her grandmother's phone number. 555-4385 or KL5-4385
Christopher Cundey's scenes as Lorraine's classmate were deleted from the final print.
Doc Brown's amp, to which Marty plugs in, is the face plate to a 1960s Gibson GA-5T amp, which is only around twelve to fifteen watts.
The sound effects for the clock tower's bell is actually a recording of Big Ben, which has traditionally been the "ultimate classic" bell-sound used in old-time radio-shows --- especially for intense/dramatic scenes --- to represent a city-clock tolling the hour.
Doc Brown attempts to defend himself from the Libyans with a nickel-plated Single Action Army fitted with pearl grips.
The phone number that Jennifer has written on the back of the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer is 555-4873
Even though you never hear mention of the sports teams played at Hill Valley High, their sports mascot is the Bulldogs.
As being a starring cast in the film, Christopher Lloyd was truly born in 1938, having made him the same age the year this film was made that Marty's parents' were as fictional people in this same year it starts off and ends in, because in the story Marty's parents were born in 1938.
Although Disney/Touchstone allegedly passed on producing the film due to it being "too risqué" company executives did agree to and provided the music "The Ballad of Davy Crockett".
In the beginning scene, a cardboard cut-out of Doc Brown can be seen hanging from the minute-hand of a clock of his.
When Marty shows 1955 Doc the picture in his wallet, he references what his sister is wearing, saying "Look at her sweatshirt, Doc. Class of 1984!" The film in which Michael J. Fox appeared before his roles in this film and Family Ties (1982) was Class of 1984 (1982).
November 5 happens to be the birthday of Bob Gale's father, who labored under the illusion that the date was chosen specifically as an homage to him.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
Some dialogue from the film was used in a remix version of the song "Violet" by Seal at 2:48.
At about the 12 minute mark while the lady comes & asks for donations to save the clock tower, in the background at the movie theatre bill board it says "Orgy American style $5 per seat".
At 1:46:40, just before Marty wakes up after having returned from 1955, the journal in his headboard bookshelf (the yellow one with the large RQ logo) is Research Quarterly vol. 22, no. 4, published Summer 1983. The just-barely-visible blue one underneath is a winter issue, as winter issues of this journal published around the time of the film had blue covers. Fall issues typically had red covers.
Marty never once addresses his sister Linda by her name in this, or any film of the entire trilogy.
In the scene of Marty at the diner with the pay phone, the "half past the hour chime" sounds on his Casio watch. In 1985, the most popular Casio models: SA50, FA90, or CFX400.
Courthouse Square, which features prominently in the film and many other Universal productions, actually burnt down in 2008. It was subsequently rebuilt.
In the original time-line, Lorraine rescues George in 1955 (after her dad ran him over with the car). In the alternate time-line, George rescues Lorraine, also in 1955.
Chrispin Glover appeared on the iconic 50s tv show Happy Days and the iconic 50s movie Back to the Future both within a year of eachother.
Both Back to the Future (1985) and the TV show Highway to Heaven (1984) were filmed in Pasadena during the same period. In the Highway to Heaven episode entitled "Friends", a student is holding the same book with the Hill Valley "bulldog" logo that was used in Back to the Future. George McFly is holding this book in his hands in the high school scene when he is being made fun of by his class mates.
[35:10] When Marty first arrives in 1955, before he enters town, the billboard advertising Lyon Estates shows an image of a model home. While the house is shown in a pale turquoise paint, it is the same style of house as Marty's house, which is painted brick red.
When [George] falls out of the tree, Mr. Baines (Lorraine's dad) yells, "Stella, another one of these kids jumped in front of my car!". Presumably, George was not the first to peep on Lorraine from that same tree.
Marty travels back in time to November 5, 1955. That's the same date that features in the film Time After Time (1979).
Both Back to the Future (1985) and Witness (1985) were honored by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in 2006 as one of the "101 Greatest Screenplays of All Time", #56 and #80 respectively. Despite being ranked higher on the list, 'Back to the Future' still lost Best Original Screenplay to 'Witness' at both the Writers Guild of America Awards and the Academy Awards in 1986.
First of three movies in which Michael J. Fox's character hits a fence with the car he is driving. In this one Marty hits old man Peabody's fence around his "twin pines". (2) In Doc Hollywood (1991), Ben Stone hits the judge's fence after running off the road. (3) In The Frighteners (1996), Frank Bannister hits Dr. Lynskey's fence after running off the wet road.
Contrary to popular belief, there are more than two versions of 1985 in the trilogy, there are three. In this film there's the Twin Pines version (Lorraine's dad hit George with the car, Biff is George's boss, Lorraine is an alcoholic, etc.), and the Lone Pine version (George is a wealthy writer, Lorraine looks better and doesn't drink, Biff owns a struggling auto detail company). Then in Part 2, there's the worst version, the one where Biff is powerful & corrupt, George McFly is dead, etc.).
Huey Lewis: When Marty is being judged at the band auditions at the beginning, the judge who stands up to say he is "just too darn loud" is Huey Lewis, whose songs, "The Power of Love" and "Back in Time" are featured on the movie's soundtrack, and also wrote Marty's audition song (which is a re-orchestrated version of "The Power of Love.")